Germany Faces EU Ultimatum over VW Law | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 15.03.2004
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Germany Faces EU Ultimatum over VW Law

Germany is facing increasing pressure from the European Commission to revoke the controversial law that protects German car manufacturer Volkswagen AG from a hostile takeover, German magazine Focus reported on Sunday. The German government is expecting an ultimatum from EU Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein to scrap the so-called "VW law" by the end of the month, the magazine said, citing sources close to the commissioner. The law gives the state of Lower Saxony, which holds just under 20 percent of VW's shares, a de facto veto over any unwanted takeover. If no action is taken in two months, Bolkestein would take legal action, the report stated. Germany has already been warned once that the law breaches EU rules on the free movement of capital and investment. It would be the Commission's latest clampdown over rules which give governments blocking stakes -- so-called golden shares -- in key, formerly state-owned firms.